“Innocence of Muslims” movie to blame for violence sparked in the Egypt and Libya, Middle East against U.S. embassies; Booz Allen Hamilton’s Roger Cressey on challenges that remain in the region post-Arab Spring
U.S. embassies in the Middle East are under siege. On Thursday, hundreds of Yemeni demonstrators stormed the U.S. embassy in Sanaa in protest of the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” made in California, which they consider blasphemous to Islam. ”Innocence of Muslims,” a tiny, independent Internet video that hadn’t been even a blip on the radar until now, is also blamed for inciting mobs in Egypt and Libya.
Watch Roger Cressey, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, talk about Booz Allen Hamilton’s efforts in the Middle East and challenges facing those countries post-Arab Spring:
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Protesters in Egypt climbed into the U.S. embassy in Cairo this week, tore down the American flag, and battled with police. This even comes soon after Tuesday’s September 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which killed American Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. On Thursday, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton tried to put distance between the U.S. government and the makers of “Innocence of Muslims,” calling it “disgusting and reprehensible” but also condemning violence in response to it.
Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and consulting firm, has a presence in Middle Eastern countries such as Oman, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
“What we’re seeing are the governments there trying to adjust to the reality of the Arab Spring and how it’s impacted that part of the region,” Cressey said. “That’s the most stable area in the Middle East right now … and they’re looking at two things.”
One of which is how those governments can ensure their citizens are being taken care of as they see uprisings in countries such as Syria, Egypt and Tunisia. Booz Allen Hamilton wants to make sure there is enough investment, health care and education in these countries, which form an island of stability amidst a volatile region, to remain so.
“They’re in a rough neighborhood,” Cressey said. “They have Iran on one side and all the instability on the other side and so they’re trying to carve out a role for them.”
Civil war continues to rage in Syria in the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, while kidnappings occur, and Syria’s prime minister appears to have defected with three other government Cabinet members. Meanwhile, 24 United Nations monitors in Aleppo, Syria, have pulled out because of the worsening situation.
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